Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It's in the hoop!

Today it is cold and dark. I finished piecing the backing for the baby quilt and laid it out on the cold apartment floor.  Then I laid out and pieced the batting using thinsulate #80. I finished adding the remaining birds to the tree, went over the seams with the iron, and laid it out on top.

Though I prefer thread basting, the apartment has the power turned off, and being rather cold and dark, and seeing how nicely the quilt lay on the batting, I decided to use my pin collection to get the job done.

I have not added all the leaves, but I think it will be a lot easier than the flowers and birds, especially now that it is layered, it is easier to get those wide borders out of the way.

I will first just quilt in the ditch.

Then I will have to figure out how to quilt the larger areas and the borders.

So ... the quilt for little Phoebe is growing almost as fast as she is.
for now, it is off in the rain to choir practice. Hopefully the rain will finish before the nature hike on Saturday.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Blooming time

This plum tree, planted to celebrate the birth of my first daughter in the mid-sixties, has usually begun to bloom around the time of her birthday.

The last few years it has been a bit late.
Well, maybe I, too , am slowing down as I get older.

Only about a week late, the first blossoms began to open last Friday. There are many more today, and I expect the next sunny day the tree will be showing off its full potential.

After adding a few bluebirds to Phoebe's tree to celebrate the day of her birth, it was time to add a few plum blossoms to celebrate her aunt.

I picked a flower to bring in and match the fabric.
Note one real flower on an upper branch, posing.

I do not plan to remove the borders, but it sure would have been easier to do all this fussy applique without getting that extra material caught in my needle.

As long as I am starting with the spring side of the tree, I decided to add a few cherry blossoms.

I still have a number of birds to add, but for today I think I will lay out and piece the backing.

In the past, I have sometimes added applique to quilts after basting the sandwich and found it less likely to get the the needle caught in strange places.

Tomorrow I will be meeting with my small quilt group so may make a bit more progress during the week.

If I can add the rest of the birds, I may add some of the leaves as I quilt. I often plan as I go, but this is the very least planned of any quilt I have ever worked on.

Last Friday I joined a small quilt group making a quilt for their school much like the Gala quilts we used to make for the American School. The quilts they make are more what I might call "art quilts" for hanging. All the work is in silk. It was fun working with a group and making new friends. I do not have every Friday free, but am planning to go back and help again.
Like many of the international schools in Tokyo, people come and go frequently, so the groups and amount of experience continuously change. At least that school has made cards of each of the quilts over the years and the history lives on. Often new administrations at these schools tend to get rid of the past and put in their own choice of teachers and agenda. As with overseas scouting, any history is in the heads of the longest active member... One never knows if things will evolve or one will be put out to pasture.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A busy week

Only a tiny bit of quilting got done in the past week. The quilt for Baby Phoebe is getting larger and I am wishing I had added the birds and leaves to the tree before making it so big.

I ended up using the border fabric left over from Ben's "big boy" quilt and I think it works fine to tie all those I-Spy blocks together.

The tree is framed by fabrics representing spring, summer, fall, and winter, and my plan is to add plum and cherry blossoms on the left, followed by green leaves, followed by autumn colored leaves, and ending with bare branches.

I have been appliqueing birds on the branches before adding the leaves but find it hard to work in the center because of the wide borders. I am wondering if it might be easier to add the leaves while doing the quilting.

The day Phoebe was born, her mom was planning to meet in Portland with my elder daughter to see an Eastern Bluebird, a rather rare visitor to that area. Instead, her trip was to the hospital for an early delivery. This past weekend, the two, plus little Phoebe, went to see the bird as it was still around. After hearing that, I sewed two bluebirds on the spring branches.

The quilt I showed from the Tokyo Dome show, made by Ueno-san, used some of this same bird print fabric. I have to admit, her machine applique was much better than I have been able to do by hand.

Last night I laid out tenugui to piece for the backing. I had only eleven of the twelve zodiac animals. The monkey is missing. There used to be a place in Ginza that sold those tenugui but that is a long way to go for just one towel and I don't even know if they are still in business.

A  week ago, I attended the Far East Council's Executive Board meeting. It was hosted at the U.S. Ambassador's residence, a beautiful and historic building.

After the meetings, we were treated to a tour of the surrounding rooms, and this picture of those board members who attended in person was taken at the site of the meeting between MacArthur and the Emperor Hirohito in 1945.

The black and white photograph of that meeting is seen on the table to the left of our group.

According to the booklet we were given of the history of that residence, MacArthur and the Emperor sat and talked for 40 minutes by the fireplace.

Though I often attend these meetings on line, it was well worth the trip into town and back.

When handed the booklet with the history and pictures, I commented as to how much my daughter, an architect, would enjoy having it, and the tour guide gave me a second copy.

I was pleased to learn that in a city where old buildings with great history are being torn down to be replaced with towering blocks, this house is being carefully restored down to every detail.

Friday to Sunday I attended the Women's Conference. It was held in Tochigi at the Asian Rural Institute, instead of the usual Amagi Sanso on the Izu peninsula. It was the first time to go there since the renovation after the earthquake and though I took my camera ... not once did it come out of my bag.
I was happy to enjoy quality time with my friend Tanya and my friend Ester, whose daughter baby-sat Nikko, and see other friends I almost never see but once a year.
I did a quilt basics workshop, and luckily had help from Tanya. The time was way too short and I notice over the years women have little experience with basic stitching. I could sew better seams at the age of three than many of those women.
If I do a workshop next year, I think some basic sashiko with a limited number of stitches would be best to try.

Another busy week is in process now. Not much time to spare, though I may have a chance on Friday to meet some new local quilters.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Tokyo Dome Quilt Festival ...3

With this post, I run out of names in English, so any more pictures will take time for getting help.

Over many years I have developed a friendship with Ueno-san through shows at Yokohama as well as Tokyo Dome. For years she was part of a group of international quilters that made a show on certain themes in small wall quilts. She teaches quilted handbags and enters bags or framed quilts or, this year, this large quilt names "Garden Birds".  I was interested to see that the bird print she has used is the same one I am using to applique birds in the tree of my new granddaughter's quilt. I am working by hand but in awe of how beautiful a job she could do by machine.

Here is a close-up.

And another one.

It seems she found this print fabric in a larger size.

The background is perfect to show them off.

This year she also entered the framed category with this colorful giraffe.
I have not translated the names in this category, but included the title cards with the names in Japanese and the description.

The needlework embellishments on this are outstanding. The quilter is "Tanaka"

This quilter put a lot of detail into this Christmas scene.

This colorful bird was made in Mola style by a quilter named Yamamoto.

This piece of work called "Memory" seems to be looking back at school days.

Many of the lovely large quilts with so much detail seem to spend more time folded up waiting for a show. I think these framed quilts make more sense, as they could be hung in someone's house. I am impressed as to how much detail quilters manage to get into such a compact space.

Prize-winners were given credit for their work.
This one made by Kazuko Fujimura won the prize for Original Design.

The second prize overall went to this quilt made by Kyoko Takeda

"Golden Tokyo Tower 2020" by Ritsuko Kuramitsu won third prize in the "traditional" category. 
I wonder what makes this a "traditional" quit.

This is the second prize winner fir the "traditional" quilts.
Made by Noriko Kido

And the first prize for traditional goes to Teruko Uchiya
Titled, "Hamorebi"

"Life IV" by Noriko Misawa took the prize for "Machine Making"

This quilt made by Mayumi Mochizuki won a second prize. I'm not certain the category or if it is overall. 

And the grand winner was this quilt made by Hitomi Mishima.

Honestly, I don't know how the winners were selected. There were so many fine  quilts, and compaed with when the Dome show had its beginnings, creative and original designs with fine quilting and embellishments.  
In addition to these selected for prizes, each category also displayed the top three picks.

A baseball stadium is not a small place and the center display area is surrounded by assorted rows of shops or stalls selling all kinds of quilt-related items. There is a lot of walking to do and a lot of waiting for people to get out of the way so a picture can be taken. In the early days, pictures were not allowed and there was a large book on sale if you wanted pictures, so the times have changed in more ways than one. One thing that never changes is that the end, one has to walk up a long flight of steps to the very top of the stadium to exit, and after hours of walking, that might just be the biggest challenge of all.
I hope I will get some translation so I can show a few more of my favorites.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Thursday morning walk

Throughout Tokyo there is a very specific schedule of trash collection. Since items need to be carried to the spot for each particular area, one cannot just carry anything to that spot except on the correct day.

Bags that contain items that do not meet requirements for the day are left behind with a sticker stating why.

Because I live on the edge of our area, I sometimes take the option of crossing the road and leaving items to the park pickup across the street.

Only one day is the same for both areas, and that is glass, metal, and pet-bottles.

I frequently walk Nikko down the dividing street and through the park. In the warmer seasons, I pull weeds in the park along the way, and have gotten to know many living in the area.

I may have mentioned before, that that "Koyama Cho" area is the high class section. Whereas my side of the street is getting many small apartments, the Koyama area is made up of single dwellings with large gardens. The higher class is also reflected in their "trash".  On some occasions they get large tins of snacks or treats. I'm not sure what they contain ... the one I picked up today says "Gateau Rusk"

I have been collecting these large tins, as they are perfect for sorting small fabric scraps.

They are all the same size, so stack nicely.
Oh, there may be a few smaller ones, but those are useful too.

Long ago, I brought home a tin with a lid that didn't quite fit. I was using that tin with the lid set on crooked and wondering why it was a bit off.

Well, in early December, while checking the disposal basket, I found a lid and container that didn't match up.I pulled them out and brought them home, and surprise! That lid fit the old tin perfectly.

Now, I had a spare container with no lid to cover it.
But luckily, I didn't toss it out. This morning, Nikko and I strolled through the park and checked the bin.

I found two lids and one tin. Clearly the pale yellow tin had a lid to match and I cheered to find that the single lid fit perfectly on the uncovered one.

I really like the way these tins stack up and the size is just right for my smaller scraps. Now, what I really need is more space to stack those handy tins. I have larger buckle boxes sorted by color stacked in the upstairs hallway. Soon walking space will be at a premium. Ah, but the benefits of a Thursday morning walk! A tin for goodies, empty of calories.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Tokyo Dome Quilt Festival (well known teacher's quilts)

I have hesitated to post many pictures taken at the quilt show because I wish to give credit to those quilters who have not only come up with creative designs, but must have spent very many hours of work on the details. Following here are quilts made by well-known quilters, probably most of them teachers ... or "sensei". Other than a few foreign quilters, the names on the majority of posted information are still written only in Japanese. I have seen a number of posts on blogs or Facebook that just show pictures without any other data. My friends who can read the names have dutifully included them in their posts.

These cute Song Sparrows seem to be having a party. 
Yoshiko Katagiri os the creator of this gathering.

"Kokeshis' Stories" by Megumi Mizuno

"For You" by Toshiko Imai has a lot of beautiful detail in both the quilting and the applique.

"Combinations" by Sachiko Yoshida  Even with a limited pallet, the arrangement was quite striking.

"In the Afterglow" by Misaki Okabe  I have never seen a sunset like this!

"The Summer Town" by Noriko Fujisawa. 

"The Red Mountain" by Fumiko Nakayama.
Known for her "Mola" quilts, this mola is done in a more modern style.

"Fallen Leaves" by Chiyoko Takayama
Not only a creative arrangement, but amazing detail ...

I didn't get the name of this quilt with an interesting arrangement of black and white mixed with color. It was created by Miki Murakami

"A Quilt of Sky-Blue" by Hiroko Nakazawa
This made nice use of the graded blue background and fine details.

Misako Imamura put a lot of fine detail into this lovely bouquet.

"What Autumn Forest Tells Me" by Reiko Naganuma
Trees over autumn colors ... and the multi-colored border is a fine finish.

As usual, Emiko Toda Loeb has created a two-sided 
hanging, and as is usually the case, a two-sided hanging space has been made for it's display.

And shown here is the reverse side.

"Ancestral Resemblance"
is the title.

"A Chocolate Factory" by Osami Gonohe
One can spend a lot  of time enjoying the details in this quilt,
not just the busy figures, but the teacups and cookies tied within that border .

"Dignified - the Tree of Ressurection" by Noriko Inafune

"Flowers Survived over a Thousand Years" by Hiroko Takita

Tokiko Yanazawa made this elegant Peafowl. What a lot of work!

"An Hommage for DOUSHOKUSAIE" by Reiko Nakahara.
I seem to have started and ended this part of the show with birds. 
Along with the name and title, the posted sign gives some explanation of what the quilter was thinking or intending or representing in her quilt. There were many times I wished I could read the explanations that went along with this fine work.

I hope you enjoyed a small glimpse of the inspiration I enjoy year-by-year.